ALLENTOWN, Pennsylvania, MAY 27, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI appointed Monsignor John Barres, 48, as bishop of Allentown, and accepted the resignation of Bishop Edward Cullen, 76, who resigned for reasons of age.
John Barres was born in Larchmont, New York, to parents who were both protestant ministers. The two converted to Catholicism five years before their son was born. Barres was baptized in 1960 by then Bishop Fulton Sheen.
He was ordained to the priesthood in 1989, and has most recently been serving as the chancellor of the Diocese of Wilmington, Delaware.
Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia issued a statement welcoming Bishop-designate Barres to the Philadelphia province, which includes all the dioceses of Pennsylvania.
The cardinal stated: “I am confident that he will be warmly welcomed by the clergy, religious and faithful of the Diocese of Allentown as their new shepherd. I assure him of my fraternal solidarity and prayerful support as he prepares for his ordination as a bishop on July 30.”
The Diocese of Allentown has some 277,000 Catholics served by 279 priests, 105 permanent deacons and 450 religious.
“Honored and humbled”
Benedict XVI named Father Lee Piché as an auxiliary for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, thus filling the vacancy left last year when Bishop Richard Pates was named to lead the Diocese of Des Moines, Iowa.
The bishop-designate has served for little less than a year as the moderator of the Curia and vicar general for the Archbishop John Nienstedt of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
Bishop-designate Piché said: “I am honored and humbled by the Holy Father’s confidence in me.
“This is a great archdiocese, with many blessed and talented individuals, parishes, and institutions, and with some significant challenges, too. I am grateful to God for calling me to serve in this way.
“Since receiving this news, I have been praying that God will strengthen me to be faithful in the ministry of bishop.”
Archbishop Nienstedt commented, “I have been praying everyday, sometimes several times a day, for a good and holy assistant and my prayers have been answered.”
He added: “Bishop-[designate] Piché is one of the most respected priests in the archdiocese. He has been a successful pastor of several large parishes and has served with distinction as moderator of the Curia and vicar general. I look forward to ministering with him in meeting the pastoral needs of this great and vibrant archdiocese.”
Lee Piché was born in Minneapolis in 1958, the eldest of seven children. He was ordained a priest in 1984.
He will be installed as bishop June 29.
The archdiocese has some 852,000 Catholics, with 484 priests, 217 permanent deacons and 1,142 religious.